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Students Work to End Food Waste


Wednesday, February 24, 2016   

ST. LOUIS, MO - On college campuses across the country, student volunteers are working to put an end to food waste and at the same time are helping in their communities to feed the needy.

Some high schools also take part in The Campus Kitchens Project.

In Missouri, there are programs at St. Louis University, Washington University and just across the border in Illinois.

Jennifer Bird, program manager at The Campus Kitchens Project at St. Louis University, and says it's a lot of work for the volunteers, many of whom had no previous experience.

"Some students come in never really having done cooking at home," says Bird. "And they kind of get to learn on the job. We just kind of say, 'Hey here's a recipe, we'll check back on you,' or in some cases, 'Here's some raw materials, what can you do with them?'"

Bird says 40 percent of food is wasted in the United States every year and yet one-in-six people doesn't know where his or her next meal will come from.

Bird says students learn to cook, but they also learn about the people in their communities, many of whom are socially isolated.

"Some of our clients who seem the most gruff and grumpy when we deliver, they're the first ones to call," she says. "If we're running late or miss a date because of the holidays, and then you think, 'You know what? It does matter to them.'"

Since its inception in 2001, The Campus Kitchens Project has received more than 5.2 million pounds of foods from stores, restaurants and campus dining halls and has prepared and delivered almost 2.7 million meals.

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